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What is WiGig?

Solomon Branch
Solomon Branch

The Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig) was formed by a wide array of computer and computer software manufacturers to develop and sponsor a wireless technology that utilizes the 60 GHz frequency. Their aim is to develop technology that does not require a license to use and increases wireless connectivity speeds to reach the multi-gigabit range. The overall goal is to provide a seamless wireless connection between multiple devices in one environment.

A first completed version of a WiGig specification, dubbed version 1.0, was created in late 2009. It has several main key points that highlight its functionality. The primary point is the increase in speed, and it offers transmission rates up to seven gigabits per second (Gibt/s), which is ten times faster than its predecessor, the 802.11 specification. Another key point is backward compatibility, and WiGig aims to work with current wireless network cards and technology without additional upgrades needed. It also has accommodations for power management, security, and interoperability with other devices that utilize wireless (wifi) technology.

Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

WiGig regards its uses with other devices, such as high-definition television (HDTV) and peripherals of a personal computer (PC), to be of critical importance. To that end, it created the specifications known as the WiGig version 1.0 audio/visual (A/V) and I/O protocol adaption layer (PAL) specifications. PAL is a layer added to network transmissions to help adapt to older standards. The version 1.0 A/V specification discusses uses of wireless transmissions for audio and visual components, such as would be used for digital cameras, and the version 1.0 I/O PAL specifications discuss the specifications for wireless connectivity for bus and serial extensions, such as those used in PC peripherals and other devices that use the 60 GHz frequency.

In addition to working with major companies, WiGig formed an alliance with the existing wireless technology group known as the Wi-Fi alliance. The Wi-Fi alliance was started to standardize the 802.11 standard, the predecessor to the WiGig standard. It also certifies wireless technology, and the Wi-Fi alliance performs these same two functions for the Wireless Gigabit Alliance, but for technology utilizing the 60 GHz frequency. There was also a union formed with the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) to define the use of the new wireless standard with video devices.

Although WiGig has a huge amount of backing, they are not without competition. The Wireless high definition (HD) standard sometimes uses the same 60 GHz. For the most part, Wireless HD is used in portable devices and PCs only. There is overlap between the two technologies, but they are not necessarily direct competition.

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      Woman doing a handstand with a computer